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You Asked, I answered: Getting Engaged With You (Part 3)

Saturday, June 10, 2017
You Asked, I answered: Getting Engaged With You (Part 3)Like5

It’s been almost a year  since I have done an article similar to this one. You have asked me questions and I have answered them previously (You can read more here and here).

A lot has been going on since January 2017. Some good, some not so good.

My high so far is that my team has grown, we have two new wonderful people who joined TJD, Welfred and Camila, who are probably smiling right now while reading this… and somehow I have not paused in the longest time, and most importantly, we launched Travel 4 A Purpose. (Tadddaaaa!!!) 

Along the way, people got lost in my world and stepped out of it.  It was sad at first, but we moved on. I realized that not everyone will make it to your future, some people are just passing through to teach you a lesson in life.

My low is that I recently (45 days ago) lost one of the most important people in my life… A family member that even whilst I type, I feel my heart beating out of my chest.

It was right after my Japan trip with #TravelwithTJD. I remember my sister telling me the news when I had just walked into the house… and I broke down , drove right back to the airport, to Beirut and to the funeral.

It was difficult maintaining a social life, despite me keeping a lot of my personal life private, I secluded myself even more.

I cancelled my May and June trips and focused on coping with the death of my aunt, who was a second mom to me since birth and my best friend.

Somehow, I found being home my only escape. I found my friends surrounding me. Those who knew me well, stayed by side in those difficult moments of despair. It’s funny how the right people in your life help you breathe lighter, deeper and easier. 

I thought I would be off social for more than a week at the least, but I have received so many messages from you, I felt lucky.

I started to focus on how good the good really is. Then the good got better. 

So here we are, you asked… I answered.

I am engaging with you the best way I know how to. I am saying thank you for inspiring me and thank you for always having my back. 

Here are few of the questions you have been asking me…

Q   How can you travel around the world? What is your Job? How do you have so much money?


A   I have answered this many times before [Click here]

But I will answer you again.

I have been in the travel industry working in events for hospitality and tourism for 17 years. 4 years ago, I launched Travel Junkie Diary on my own first as a form of a blog where travelers can share their inspiring stories from across the world onto this platform until I launched TJD consultancy 3 years ago where we consult the hospitality industry on creating marketing campaigns for their brands and directing them to the right platforms/influencer/blogger to work with. Every year, our team grows a little bigger and this year we recruited two more people, Wilfred and Camilla. (Who is probably reading this now and smiling). My team and I work closely with our clients to ensure they work with the right people to get their message across. I travel for business and I travel for personal. I did not get here by chance, I worked hard and long to get to where I am and I’m not even close to where I want to be but I’m on my way!



Q   How are you able to sustain such a fabulous travel life? What have you sacrificed for it?


A   I wanted to add this question from a follower because she caught my heart when she asked me what have you sacrificed… The first year was very difficult convincing my family of what my vision was. They were both afraid and happy for me because they knew how stubborn I was. I wanted to create something beautiful and earnest and I knew it would work, it just took a year and a half for it to kick off properly (as most start ups do) so there was a lot of discussion daily. I’m a wife, a mother and an entrepreneur attempting [at the time] to launch something that the market has never seen or experienced before. So it was difficult, but I’m one of these people that smile often and worry less and believe strongly about my passion. It’s simple… I knew what I wanted, I always did, I always do. So I go for it… with all transparency. 


Q   You recently had a death in the family. I read it on your instagram post. It made me cry because I was going through the same. How are you now? How did you deal with it?


A   My condolences to you too.  It’s not easy and I don’t know who ever said that with time it gets easier. I have my days where I am good and days I am broken. I think I am still dealing with it. During the funeral, I remember people telling me to be strong and to hold my tears. I disagree. If you want to cry, then cry, if you want to scream then scream and if you want to love then love. I was always a strong believer for being honest with your feelings even if sometimes it makes a person uncomfortable. That’s what they are there for, otherwise, what’s the point of having all these feelings and never able to express them? My only advice is don’t be bitter and don’t hate. I can never forgive myself otherwise. It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. What I do is pray, so try and find something that makes you feel at peace… even for a little while.


Q   What camera do you use? Who takes your photos? Who edits them? How do you use your drone when you are in the pictures?


A    My one and only Leica. My true love I had to admit. I take my own photos and do not hire a photographer. I cannot imagine photography or travel without my leica. I edit all my photos, I take ALL my photos. I use a tripod or ask a stranger on the street to hold the camera for me. My passion is photography. I am self taught and have so much more to learn but I had to start from somewhere. I have become a huge drone addict too and use the Phantom 4 Pro Plus.



Q    When did you make your first trip on your own? Do you always like to travel alone?


A     I think I was 16 or 17. I remember though what happened. I had a emergency landing on my way back to Dubai into Cyprus. I remember being so afraid and so alone. I remember the airline had us stay in a hotel in Larnaka and I don’t remember why I did not have a mobile phone at that time. But I remember being very afraid. I had to wait along with the other passenger 22 hours before flying back to Dubai to my parents. But I don’t think it had stopped me from traveling alone, ever. I love to travel alone. You can travel and tell no one. You can live a story and tell no one. You can live happy and tell no one. We become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, or feel the need to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.



Q     How old are you? Where are you from?


A      I was born on October 3, 1980. A true libra. I was born in Lebanon, then at the age of 4 my parents moved to Dubai. 


Q     What was the most dangerous place you have visited?


A     That is such a difficult question. I don’t really put myself in danger when I travel. I take risks and have crossed borders on foot and have gone to places where I don’t even know how to pronounce, but I never felt in danger. I don’t necessarily feel safe everywhere but I always get emotional on take offs and landing. I think I find the planes the most dangerous part of my travels! Crazy eh?


Q      How/when did you know what you wanted to do in your life?


A      I’ve been so lucky in my life because I always knew what I wanted. I knew what I wanted from friends, family and my job. I was just unsure of how to get there at first. In my earlier days, I studied to become a lawyer and learned languages, because I always was good at defending others and proving my point ( I was very young … I know) Then, I studied the ways to become an archeologist (I know…crazy!!) Then followed by the study of the stars and astrology blew me away. My parents told me I needed to study science and I was never good at science.. and I hated it… so I dropped it. Whatever it was, it was about the earth, travel, discovery. I always knew.

When your career and passion come together. It’s magical.


Q    How do you keep up with friends?


A     One day it will just click. You realize whats important and what isn’t, you learn to care less about what other people think of you and care more about what you think of yourself. You create less drama. You realize how far you have come and remember thinking that things were in such a mess they would never recover…and then you smile. You smile because you are the truly proud of yourself and the person you have fought to become. With friends…souls tend to go back to who feels like home. Those are the people who stick. 🙂


Q    What is the best way to grow a travel blog? 


A    Stay exclusive. Don’t be everywhere. Don’t involve yourself with everyone and everything that comes your way. Don’t look around you. Be picky. Be polite. Be strong. Embrace your empowerment by your brains and your strength and not by anything else. Don’t sell yourself for extra likes on social media. That’s where people fall into a trap. Inspire people. Don’t equate empowerment with only ‘sexiness’, rather than confidence or intelligence. Remember you are inspiring so many people. Inspire them to be smart and successful. Write a story that has not been published a million times. Follow your passion as if you are never ever going to get paid ever. Then ask yourself will you still do what you are doing… if the answer is yes… then… you are on the right path.


Q   What is Travel 4 A Purpose? Is it like Travel with TJD?


A   Ahhh! A new segment we launched in March. TFAP is an initiative to help those who need guidance in traveling for volunteer work, charity organizations and animal welfare. We are the middle people in consulting you on what programs there is out in the world that matches what you are looking for. Coming from a background where I started doing working with NGO programs since before I was a teenager, I am able to identify the best ones and the noble ones. We also have programs for you to enroll into to make your decision easier and faster.


Q    Where is your favorite place on earth?


A     On Earth? (No pressure 🙂 ) Well, I do love South East Asia and Kenya and Greece. I love London and Amsterdam.


Q     What are your summer plans?


A     Almost every summer we go sailing on a family vacation. It’s a tradition. This year it will be around Croatia then fly back to Greece. 


Q    Favorite ice cream flavor? Favorite food? Favorite music? How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling?


A     Vanilla and caramel ice cream 🙂 and french fries and as for music, happy house, progressive. I listen to a lot of R&B too especially the good old school kind. I practice a lot of Yoga, I love running, I had a knee injury for the longest time but its healing pretty well, I used to LOVE wall climbing, I use to do it twice a week with friends up until I got so busy, when I travel I walk a lot and practice yoga in the mornings. I always eat clean food but always add a side order of french fries. 🙂 


Q    Do you have lots of friends around you?


A    I have one best friend and 1 close friend.


Q   Any advice for a long lasting relationship?


A   The freedom to continue to decide. Exchanging positive vibrations between both. 100% loyalty and transparency and remember that your partner is not there to make you happy, so don’t expect or depend your happiness on them, it’s just not fair. They can make you smile, make you laugh, make you happy but your happiness should come from you and only you.

You are meant to make yourself happy with your success, your goals, your achievements. In my opinion, they are not responsible for your happiness but yourself, this will remove all pressure of a relationship. The only thing you can control is the relationship you are with yourself.



Q   Romatic vacation or adventure travel?


A    You might think I’m crazy, my husband thinks I’m insane for thinking this, but adventure travel is SO romantic for me! I chose the jungle in south east Asia and getting my hands dirty over a sunset cruise anytime! It’s just the way I am. Let’s share fries in Myanmar or Cambodia or get lost in somewhere in Africa together 🙂 That’s crazy romantic! (right? 🙂 )


You can read more questions and answers


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Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler


  1. Alex says:

    Love your answer in this question ” Any advice for a long lasting relationship?”

    I feel the exact same way, and I love how humble and honest you answer every question. Big kudos to you!

  2. Claudia says:

    Thank you Michelle for sharing your personal and emotional journey with us even the ones that are difficult to even put into words. Once again, I am sorry for your loss and I agree with you, holding your tears in doesn’t make you strong, being confident enough to show your emotions does! And congrats on your new business venture TFAP!

  3. Maysa says:

    Michelle! Thank u so much for making ur writings so enjoyable! I enjoyed part3 of the q&a tht made me go back to part 1&2 Where u answered my question in part 2. This is so inspiring and im so sorry for ur loss. It was so good to read this as the first thing this morning!

  4. Elise says:

    Thank you so much for answering my question! I absolutely adore the transparency you use in your posts and blog. It’s so amazingly hard to find real depth and honesty amongst the internet. I’ve sacrificed so much to live the life that I love and would love to share with you as well. Thank you for beautiful words and I cannot wait to see and hear more about your company!

  5. Nicolas Prud says:

    It’s not everyday you meet someone as brave as you for opening up. It’s difficult to open up and I know this because I feel we are the same. Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us.

  6. Hala says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words inspire me. I have been following you since the very start. Stay genuine as u always are x

  7. Quratulain Zulfiqar Ali says:

    So inspiring! Left a smile on my face 🙂

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Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Would you go to furthermost place on earth? 
I’m so excited to announce our 5th destination release on @travelwithtjd 
Join us on the 1st-6th of May 2020 to the Northernmost Settlement on earth and explore the Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole on an Arctic expedition. In this packed polar journey, we have the chance to encounter some arctic wildlife, Kayaking into the glorious glaciers, snowmobiling into the earth’s depends fjords, enjoy husky safari, taste the culinary Arctic experience and learn so much about our beautiful planet.
Few tips on the trip: 
During May, it will be the start of the midnight sun, and so, the sun will not set below the horizon
As flights on our packages are not included, I always suggest to find the best flight deals through @wegoarabia which will give you a range of flights to chose from, matches your budget and connecting flights
Please get in touch if you would like to join this expedition, also, keep in mind that you will need a certain fitness level to join. 
Due to safety circumstances, we can only have 6 guests in one group. 
#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
Photo by @dennisstever
  • Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is composed of nine main islands. 
We visited Pyramiden, 2 hours by boat from longyearbyen, and known as a Soviet Ghost Town, an abandoned Russians coal mine settlement sold to the Soviet Union back in 1927. When we arrived, they told us that they have seen few polar bears around and so had to stay close. 
Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in Svalbard with about 450 inhabitants, mostly, also, Russians... Some of the other islands have amongst scientist and researchers. Needless to say, Longyearbyen is the northernmost capital on earth.
I also want to thank the team at who were so incredible with us, it wouldn’t have been the same without them, despite me being a little afraid of walking out, they assured our safety ☺️ Make sure you join us on our next @travelwithtjd in May to Svalbard once again!#TravelwithTJD
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It’s just you, the land, and your thoughts, and you can't leave until you've wrestled with yourself and emerged a survivor. 
But then again, the light is much more intense up here and everything looks different because of it. The sun hasn’t set in a couple of months, and you can see things much more clearly when it is light all of the time. 
I’m addicted to the Arctic, it has been so for the past two years as @dennisstever and I set a mission to work together to conquer it on @travelwithTJD 
Thanks to @dennisstever for capturing this moment.
Thank you to the wonderful team for making this a memorable experience ❤️
  • Im at the Earth’s northernmost inhabited settlement and I made this happen!!
A Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is home to the ‘King of the Arctic’, which is the Polar Bear, followed by whales, Arctic Fox, Birds, Seals, Walrus and Reindeers. Svalbard is 600 miles away from the North Pole, the farthest place on earth I have ever been. This is not a dream...I created this beautiful reality. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @visitsvalbard
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In so many ways. 
Ive always felt that my moods could be best explained in photos (and music) and that’s why I’m drawn to photography because it allows me to portray what’s going on inside when words fail. 
@dennisstever and I spent a week in Finland for the midnight sun, exploring the summer season. He probably took a thousand shots of this moment and encouraged me to keep going despite the cold waves splashing on me. 
But, I’m thankful, because, after a while, the cold numbed me, so I caught my breath, looked around and realized how F*** amazing it is to feel alive!
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Loving yourself, or accepting yourself doesn’t start with just accepting your body or its ‘flaws’, that’s not how we become ‘ordinary’, and the constant focus on bodies is directing the false message, denoting how our looks comes first and preaching about it (constantly)is not ordinary. 
Whatever happened to beauty from within? Or education? 
Are we truly loving ourselves if we put our body ‘flaws’ constantly out there on social media waiting again, for others to approve and congratulate you?
Is that not just promoting more “What’s on the outside counts more than what’s on the inside?”
Acceptance and beauty is deeper than that, because, surely, a body’s ‘ordinary’ image, is not solely what we should or should not be celebrating. 
Imperfections comes from the inside... Our actions, reactions, our weaknesses, strengths, our challenges and triumphs, our anxieties.
Loving oneself is accepting our heart and mind’s inability to function today but still give tomorrow another chance. 
We are beautiful for how we make others feel, for being there for one another, for lifting each other, for forgiving, for loyalty, for being there for your children, for your family, for strangers and for those around you and definitely not because we have or have not accepted our bodies and those around us. 
Whoever you are... our ‘imperfections’ in our souls are what makes ordinary and learning to accept it, is what makes you beautiful, and that is what we need to be sharing. 
So let’s highlight what’s on the inside, instead of just purely focusing on the outside. Because, that’s the only way we can truly love ourself, and not by perfect or imperfect bodies.
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My journey, my soul and those in my life, expressed in words and photography. 
I shoot for what is important for me and not for what is expected of me. I post when I want to, and not when a schedule says it’s time to. 
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My intentions is to always stay true to myself first, to my passion, to my photography. I believe that’s the only way one can create something extraordinary. Thank you for all the support throughout the years, or if you have just followed... thank you for your messages and your words of encouragement. 💫
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